How long does a bottle of whiskey last? A week? A month? 2 months? 2 years?
I realize there are many different factors that contribute to how you will answer that question, and undoubtedly, it will not be the same for every bottle you buy. I ask this question because I have noticed time and time again how the whiskeys I have purchased change over time… sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. But generally speaking, after a certain amount of time has passed, each one seems to hit a “sweet spot” of unparalleled deliciousness. Whiskey begins to come to life early on within the confines of their oak barrels, interacting with the wood, seeping in and out of the pores within the cask, extracting flavors and aromas that will remain a part of the spirit long after it has been removed and bottled for the masses. But the evolution doesn’t stop there (well, maybe for a short time as it sits on the liquor store shelf) because once the bottle is opened, the evolution begins again. Once exposed to oxygen, wonderful things happen to the flavors found in many of the whiskeys I’ve tried.
Now, I would imagine that at some point down the road, that same whiskey will start to lose some of these newly acquired taste sensations and quietly ease into a less exciting, mellowed out version of its prior self. The last part of this is all theory, mind you, as I have yet to personally hold onto any bottle long enough to have it reach this critical juncture of diminished returns… but it’s something I believe to be true. Until now, I’ve never kept track of how long it takes for a whiskey to reach that level of peak perfection, but it is something I am setting forth to find out. Early on in my whiskey journey, I learned to take whiskey reviews with a grain of salt. I read plenty of them in the beginning, and still do so today, but the fact of the matter is that every whiskey review that you or I have ever read is more a snapshot of a particular period in a whisky’s life than a definitive, be-all explanation of what you can expect from a whisky when you drink it yourself.
What I would like to do is this… instead of providing a single review right now for my submission, I propose we go on a bourbon journey together. I have 3 recently purchased, unopened bottles of bourbon that have been awaiting their turn on the bar top… An Angels Envy Bourbon (Port Wine Finish), an Eagle Rare 10 Yr, and a good ole Buffalo Trace Straight Bourbon. With your feedback, I will select the bottle of your choosing to begin a monthly review where we continually revisit that same bottle in an effort to understand how it changes over time. Sounds fun, right? The focus will be more on how the whiskey changes from month to month as opposed to my thoughts only on one particular day. We will revisit the same bottle and see if and how the whiskey evolves with time. Personally, I am really curious to see how this plays out. If this is something you would be interested in following, please leave a comment below as to which whiskey you think would best suit this experiment and please share any thoughts or suggestions you may have about this potential series.